[Man is always more than he can know of himself; consequently, his accom-
plishments, time and again, will come as a surprise to him]
—Golo Mann, The Liberation of an Unloved One, 1987.
Management, assessment, and evaluation are daily issues for teachers. Real, practical concerns must always be considered. Questions plague us. For example, [How can I teach rich, engaging lessons and still prepare students for standardized tests in the spring?] [How should I convince parents and the community that what I teach meets these standards?] [How do I know that I am meeting these standards?] [When do I get to teach and quit doing the other myriad intrusive things society and the school district say I have to?] [Why can't I do what I love to do, teach?]
These complex questions have no easy answers. However, in STARR, we revitalized the joy of learning for many frustrated students. By allowing students to pursue topics of interest to them, the learning becomes engaging. At the same time, teaching moves from a monotonous repetitive preparation of lessons to the creation of an exciting learning environment. Assessment and evaluation include self, peer, and parent evaluations, as well as teacher evaluations. Students begin to be more responsible for their own learning.
STARR's implementation and management takes time. STARR's educational philosophy is about depth and breadth in learning. STARR provides learners with opportunities to question, think, reflect, and grow cognitively, socially, and emotionally. It is a process that takes careful consideration of learning styles and learners' needs.
From a practical sense, then, how do you get there? The first step is to rid yourself of preconceived notions about your role as a teacher. The STARR classroom is a student-centered learning environment. Here, students are provided with experiences to reach multiple intelligences. The learning is active, exploratory, and inquiry-based. Students ask questions, reflect, and make informed decisions. Students learn technology as they need it and as they see a reason for using it. The teacher provides facilitation to move students through each process.